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Winston Yu: I think we'll go ahead anyway. After all, it's taken meticulous planning and I'd like to make my mark on the world
Alex Rider: But you'll kill thousands - for no reason
Winston Yu: What reason can you give me to spare them? World chaos does have its uses, Alex

Alex Rider and Yu

Major Winston Yu is the main antagonist in the seventh Alex Rider novel, Snakehead.


Major Yu is one of the twelve founding executives of the criminal organization SCORPIA, and he has a great love of Britain (his mother actually named him after Winston Churchill). He is an extremely cold and ruthless killer, and he does not take failure well. Some of his employees, such as Bill Tanner, prefer to commit suicide rather than suffer Yu's ghastly punishments.

However, Yu also prefers to display a degree of class, sportsmanship and tact when dealing with his enemies. He has a great respect for Alex Rider due to him being English, and he wants to get rid of the boy with a flourish.

He is also very narcissistic, naming his scam snakehead company after himself and making it into an anagram.


He is described as being extremely delicate and fragile. His overall appearance is Chinese, yet he has a head of hair which has gone white, which is remarked upon as being unusual for a Chinese man. His favourite colour seems to be white, as he is often seen in a white suit, and he also wears gray gloves to protect his fragile hands.


Winston Yu was born in complete poverty in China and he was the son of an English businessman and this is where he got his infatuation with England because he would only do business with English companies and only eat English food and only drink English wine and wear clothes made in London and he liked killing foreigners. Strangely, he hated the very English organizations MI5 and MI6.

Anyway, his father boasted to his girlfriend about England, and she fell in love with it. But then Winston Yu was born. His father when he found out about the boy and ran off to England and left the woman and her son. So Yu's mother was given the task of raising a single infant and then she worked in a hotel so this got even worse. She only earned several pounds cleaning rooms. In the end, she decided to go to Scorpia, an organization that had just started and needed someone like her. An assassin. That's what she became. She organized hit and runs, and the killing of anyone who Winston didn't like.

She packed in the towel and abandoned her sad little masquearade in a Chinese slum hotel and took her son off to England. Scorpia had finally got to her. The power of the criminal triumphs.


Winston Yu's mother was still obsessed with anything English so she used all the wealth Scorpia gave her after each assassination to pay for her son to enroll at Eton, then the top school in the country. He went to Eton and fell in love with England too. He heard how it dominated the world and how many influential people came out of England. He realized how many Prime Ministers had gone to Eton and how he could be reading their schoolbooks or be at their desks. But Winston Yu was bullied, he was. There were two nasties and they picked on him, racially and physically. (Shoving his head in the toilet and stuff.) Winston Yu got annoyed and told his mother. He didn't know she was an assassin. So when his mother drove down the bully and killed him, he was shocked, because he did not know his mother was a murderer. But to make his education possible, around 6 men died. Winston Yu just came to accept that his mother was a killer.


Although Her Majesty saw atrocity as good, as it was in the Army, Winston Yu got away with more than his fair share of violence and hatred towards foreigners in the Army. He joined Sandhurst after school and enrolled as a private, and went to Ireland in combat and all over Europe. He got a grand medal from the Queen for his Army services and at the end his mother died of a heart attack, due to shock and gratitude. Winston Yu had his mother's ashes scattered in Buckingham Palace by bribing a guard, and, from that point on, he became every which way English.


He heard of Scorpia being formed and joined. He asked to be recruited and they enrolled him. He presumably joined at Malagosto island outside Venice ("I was driving along the sea and then saw a little island") and rose up to become a board member. But his favourite hotel was the Ritz in London and he hated foreigners.

So, when the 2006 G8 Summit took place, he had to stop an alternate summit being taken place in the Pacific, called Reef Island summit, and it was various celebrities who wanted to end poverty. Winston Yu hated this, as did Scorpia, and they had been fooled and defeated by a boy called Alex Rider in the last assignment so they had to be careful. They had tried to kill Alex but he had lived. So they knew he was out there and active. Anyay, Winston Yu had his men steal a bomb from an MI6 building outside London and take it down to Thailand. His snakehead gang were based in Thailand. And MI6 promptly sent Alex Rider and his previously unknown godfather Ash to stop them. However, after being captured by Winston Yu, Winston wanted Alex's organs removed and sent him to a plastic snakehead surgeon in the Australian jungle. Alex destroyed the base and escaped and then met up with Winston Yu again in his oil rig along with the SAS who had come to kill Yu and disarm the bomb. Winston Yu wanted to cause a massive tsunami by blowing up the fault in the sea with the bomb and send the tsunami to destroy Australia and Reef Island by killing everyone who had gathered for the summit. So when Alex Rider arrived and met Ash with Winston Yu, Winston Yu tortured Alex by having the dying Ash tell him about killing Alex's parents. Then Ash died. But the SAS attacked when Winston Yu was going to kill Alex and blew the oil rig up, causing Yu's arm to shatter. As he attempted to escape, his legs gave way as well, but he survived and fled in a speedboat. Alex Rider prematurely detonated Royal Blue. Upon the destruction of the bomb, which harmlessly explodes deep underwater, the shock of the explosion shatters his bones due to his severe brittle bone disease and he died instantly.


Yu was cold, sly and aggressive towards characters such as Captain de Wynter and Alex Rider. Being on the executive board of Scorpia, he was callous, ruthless, arrogant and sociopathic. He was also vengeful, shown in his encounter with Alex Rider. He displayed traits like being sadistic and emotionally detached, shown when he interrogated Alex Rider and almost qualmlessly commented making money out of the latter's corpse.

Yu was vain, naming Unwin Toys after himself, it being an anagram of Winston Yu. He was very self-centred and wanted to make his stand in the pages of history. He claims to be one of the few people on the executive board of Scorpia to vote against Invisible Sword and, a second time, against sending a marksman to murder Alex Rider. This may or may not have been simply a psychological effect, but it shows that Major Yu has some degree of emotion.


  • Yu owns a company called Unwin Toys, which happens to be an anagram of 'Winston Yu'.
  • He is a contrast to Herod Sayle, who harboured a deep hatred for England and wanted to exact revenge against the country. Both characters were also bulled rather badly during their education.
  • He was named after Winston Churchill.
  • He hates failure, and usually issues death threats to people if they do not succeed with his tasks.
  • It is commented that he speaks perfect English like an old-fashioned news broadcaster.


  • Photo: none
  • General information: various sources, including but not limited to:

Snakehead Characters
Main Characters
Alex RiderTulip JonesJack StarbrightEthan BrookeAshMajor Winston Yu
Other Key Characters
SmithersBen DanielsSabina PleasureBill TannerAnan SukitHermann De WynterMarc Damon